It has taken a while, but the Dallas Stars finally have a coach.
Today it was announced that the Stars have hired former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. Prior to being let go by the Sabres this season, Ruff was the longest tenured NHL coach. He was hired in 1997, took the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999 where they lost to Ruff’s new employer the Dallas Stars.
The Stars search for a new head coach has not been easy. They were turned down by Alain Vigneault so he could coach in New York City and they were outmaneuvered by the Edmonton Oilers for the services of Dallas Eakins.
Luckily for the Stars, Ruff was still without a job and was able to be coerced into coaching the young Stars.
Even if Ruff wasn’t the first-choice for new Stars’ GM Jim Nill he definitely isn’t the wrong one. He is a proven coach who demands respect from his players and staff. In 1,165 games behind the bench in Buffalo, Ruff collected 565 wins. In 2006 he was the recipient of the Jack Adams Trophy, given to the league’s best coach. He also played for the Sabres from 1980-1989.
Ruff steps into a pretty decent spot with Dallas. They have a young team that is close to breaking through. He also has a star in the making in Jamie Benn and a terrific two-way wiz in Loui Eriksson.
The Stars have not been that bad the last two seasons under Glen Gulutzan. In fact, it could be said that it wasn’t Gulutzfan’s fault that he lost his job, but rather because Joe Nieuwendyk failed as a general manager. Gulutzan had his young Stars on the brink of the playoffs both years and it was speculated he lost his job because Nill wanted to hire ‘his’ guy — as is often the case when a new GM steps in.